J. Max Bond Center Partners on Legacy City Design Workshop

Meeting November 7 – 8 in Detroit is first of its kind to bring together change agents from Southeast Michigan, Northeast Ohio and Upstate New York

 The Spitzer School of Architecture’s J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City (JMBC), in partnership with the American Assembly and the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, is hosting the Bruner Loeb Forum on Legacy City Design. The two-day conference will be held, November 7 – 8 in Detroit.

“The conference builds on our Legacy City Design Initiative launched last year in partnership with the American Assembly, which is based at Columbia University,” said JMBC Director Toni L. Griffin. “In March, we were awarded a Bruner Loeb Forum grant, as well as supportive funding from the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation, enabling us to produce this groundbreaking event with our partners.”

The meeting is the first of its kind to bring together change agents from several legacy cities, including Syracuse, N.Y., Buffalo, N.Y., St. Louis, Mo., Cleveland, Ohio, Gary, Ind., Pittsburgh, Pa. and Flint, Mich. to collaborate and network around the design interventions that are regenerating cities and communities in those regions. 

Attendees will include urban designers and planners, landscape architects, architects, entrepreneurs, community leaders, tactical urbanists, public officials, nonprofits, philanthropy, policymakers and developers.

Forum-goers will hear about best practices, learn from failed implementations and brainstorm new innovations in design and development that address the common issues of chronic population loss and excessive land vacancy in rustbelt cities. They will also share, discuss and generate progressive design ideas and strategies repurposing land into sustainable urban neighborhoods and infrastructure.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy identifies legacy cities as centers of industry and commerce that, since the mid 20th century, have experienced sustained loss of jobs and population. Now they face “daunting economic, physical, social and operating challenges.”

JMBC research has identified 48 such cities in 21 states. Four states - New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan - contain nearly four-fifths of these municipalities. Since the mid 20th century, their population losses have ranged from a low of 20 percent to a high of 60 percent. In addition, many legacy cities have undergone suburban migration, urban abandonment and racial and income segregation.

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Ellis Simon
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